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Obesity and Dementia

A big belly now could spell trouble for your brain later

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Want another reason to lose that gut? Researchers in California believe that excess abdominal fat in middle-aged individuals may raise the risk of dementia later in life.

According to the 27-year study conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, individuals who were obese (body mass index 30 or above) in their 30s and 40s were 74 percent more likely to have dementia in old age. But obese individuals aren't the only ones at risk. In fact, overweight people (body mass index 25-29.9) were 35 percent more likely to experience reduced brain function, compared to individuals who maintained a healthy weight (body mass index 18.6-24.9).

In addition to age and high body mass index, researchers determined that skin-fold thickness in the upper back and upper arms is also strongly associated with dementia. In fact, both men and women with the highest skin-fold measurements had a 60-70 percent greater risk of dementia compared to those with the lowest measurements.

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